We here at CivilJustus.com are about not only the culture, but also the community that creates this culture. In that focus on culture it is important to acknowledge people who are doing work for this community. The students of The City University of New York (CUNY) have had a long history of community organizing from the 60s in fighting for open admissions, to today where students are organizing against the tuition hikes that have taken effect. This particular issue hits home with me as I am a CUNY alum via Brooklyn College, and it is powerful to see the organizing efforts that are going on to fight back. The People Power Movement is a large part of that right now and have been organizing at campuses throughout CUNY including John Jay, Lehman, City College, Laguardia and are expanding to the other CUNY Campuses.
Last Wednesday, PPM took to the streets and staged a demonstration in front of the Governor's office in Manhattan, where it was intended to hand Governor Cuomo a petition containing thousands of signatures. It was wonderful to see so many students coming together for a common cause and fighting back. We documented some of the events of that day which I've provided below. (Not the best film work, but you can definitely feel the energy as we got caught up in the movement)
Jay Espy of People Power provided us with this statement on behalf of PPM:
"On Wednesday, May 7th, 2014, the People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular (PPM-MPP) organized a delegation of students from eight CUNY schools throughout New York City to deliver petitions with a total of 1,883 signatures to New York governor Andrew Cuomo demanding to stop CUNY tuition hikes now! In addition, PPM-MPP demands that CUNY be free, and that there be popular control of the CUNY board of trustees giving students the power to vote for the members on that board. This direct action took place in the shadows of a prolonged CUNY struggle rooted in a legacy of student resistance against racist and unjust attacks on education.
Recently in 2011, when Cuomo approved a "rational" tuition policy to increase tuition per year for the next five years, CUNY students mobilized again to stop it. They knew that there's NOTHING rational about charging poor and working class people more for an education that should be free in the first place, all while the rich continue to enjoy tax-free income by exploiting us. And now, this delegation showcased what CUNY students continue to do best: hit the streets! The People Power Movement-Movimiento Poder Popular is organizing to complete an objective left unfinished: to have free quality education controlled by the people of our own communities. PPM-MPP is an anti-racist, poor/working class organization that is dedicated to educating, agitating, and organizing for popular control of the institutions that affect us in order to achieve fundamental social change and obtain a humane society. Education is a right, FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT! We don't want tuition hikes, FIGHT, FIGHT, FIGHT!